Brett Christensen a 'Hoax Slayer'
DEBUNKING internet scams and slaying hoaxes from his tiny home office since 2003, Brett Christensen is a modern day ghost buster, exposing internet scams for what they are on a daily basis.
His Hoax Slayer website is visited by people from all over the world, seeking clarification on potential hoax emails in their inbox.
His initiative, believed to be the only major Australian-based hoax-debunking site, evolved after Mr Christensen was personally stung by the Budweiser Frogs virus in 2002.
“I was embarrassed and annoyed at being caught out by a hoax and began carefully researching any email forwards I received and informing senders of my findings,” he said.
“Soon people began sending me emails to check for them, so I started a Yahoo group to discuss the scams.”
From there the group grew to the point where he created a website that now generates more than one million hits a month and a newsletter with 30,000 subscribers.
“Advance fee scams, money laundering job scams, dating scams and phishing scams — scammers come up with seemingly endless variations based,” he said.
One of his more recent busts was the Cadbury Halal scam, which caused an anti-Islamic backlash in Queensland media.
His website snuffed that one out, along with countless Nigerian fraudsters, fake charities and dating scams, urban legends and bogus petitions.
“I get a sense of achievement from getting to the bottom of every hoax, it’s pleasing when people email me to let me know they have avoided falling victim to a scammer because of me,” he said.
The 46-year-old said most internet users, with a little education, could learn to spot hoaxes, but he holds no fears of his service becoming redundant just yet.
His website even reserves a page for hard-to-believe but true emails that stretch the imagination to say the least.
“There are many hoaxes out there, but you can never be too cynical,” he said.